Mutilation is the badge that can never be taken off, and sets us apart from all others. Pain is important to the bonding—a physical horror that bonds us ever tighter to all those who have partaken. The intensity of the experience helps to widen the gulf between us and those who have not shared. –Clive Barker, Pinhead
You might imagine that a person would resort to self-mutilation only under extremes of duress, but once I’d crossed that line the first time, taken that fateful step off the precipice, then almost any reason was a good enough reason, almost any provocation enough. Cutting was my all-purpose solution. My scars ought to be a charm bracelet of mnemonics, each a permanent reminder of its precipitating event, but maybe the most disturbing thing I can say about the history of my cutting is that for the most part I can’t even remember the whens and the whys behind those wounds. It didn’t take much to make me cut. Frustration, humiliation, insecurity, guilt, remorse, loneliness—I cut ’em all out. They were like a poison, caustic and destructive, as though lye had been siphoned into my veins. The only way I could survive them, I thought, was to keep draining them from my blood. I was trying to get equilibrium from two extremes: either I was so upset that I had to cut myself to relieve it, or I was so numb that I had to cut myself to get back to being there.